Transgender Nazrul Islam Ritu has been elected union parishad (UP) chairman at Trilochonpur union of Jhenaidah’s Kaliganj upazila in the third stage of union parishad election.
Bangladesh is home to an approximately 1.5 million transgender people, who face discrimination and are often forced to stay alive by begging in the roads or working in the sex trade.
Nazrul Islam Ritu, who uses both male and female pronouns took refuge at a commune of transgender people in the capital Dhaka. She went back to her village in her late 20s and she became a well known figure in the area after she helped building two mosques and donating to several local Hindu temples.
Previously , another transgender person, Pinki Khatun, was elected as the VC of Kotchandpur upzila in Jhenaidah. Bangladesh government gave an official identification to the transgenders in 2014. Thus they can openly participate in elections as Third Gender.
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In an interview with Nazrul Islam Ritu said that her victory indicates increasing acceptance of the “Hijra” community, an umbrella term for those born male but do not refer to themselves as either a man or woman.
“The victory certainly means that they really love me and they have embraced me as their close one, I will surely dedicate my life to public service.”
She will now serve as the town’s mayor after winning Sunday’s election with 9,557 votes.